How do you make decisions? If you’re like most people, you may rely primarily on your head your logical, rational sideâ€”and perhaps to a lesser degree, your heart or emotions.
While head and heart are both important factors in decision-making, there’s another element to consider. This third factor is sometimes referred to as the Tummy Test.
The Tummy Test is about listening to your gut, or your intuition. Have you ever been on the verge of a decision, knowing what you should do, but something just didn’t feel right? Your body was giving you valuable information via the Tummy Test, prompting you to make a different decision.
How do you know what the results are of the Tummy Test? It’s more art than science. Really, intuition is nothing more than a sense of inner knowing. It’s just a perception that you have about what’s right and wrong for you.
This information is always available to you; the challenge is to tap into it, listen, and take heed of the advice. If you think about it, your intuition will generally steer you toward decisions based on joy rather than shoulds a great goal for the holiday season and into the New Year.
Still not sure how to access your intuition for better decision-making? Try these tips:
Learn to listen. Hearing your intuition can improve with practice. Start with small decisions and work your way up: the next time you have a minor decision to make, try the Tummy Test. Simply do a “gut check” how does deciding one way make you feel? Anxious? Nervous? Filled with dread? If the core of yourself internally rebels against a decision, it’s trying to tell you something. Once you get comfortable with checking for that warning stomach flutter with small choices, try tuning in with larger decisions.
Follow what feels good. The Tummy Test can work the other way, too, by giving you a good feeling when you think about making a certain decision. Think about making a choice that doesn’t match with what makes logical sense, but fulfills your internal values. Perhaps this choice has to do with a career move like taking or turning down a job. If you feel excitement or a sense of peace when you think about moving ahead with an opportunity even if it doesn’t pay as much as other choices, for example, then this is something to think about.
First signs are best. Is it your intuition talking if you first feel apprehensive but then decide you should do something anyway? Second guesses are not as reliable as first impressions when it comes to decision-making. Often your intuition will speak first and loudest to you when you’re confronted with a decision, but will quickly be drowned out by “what ifs” and other fear-based thinking. When this happens, try to return to your first feelings, and recognize when fear is trying to get the better of you.
Know yourself. One practice that helps you fine-tune your intuition is working toward understanding your own values better. If you haven’t decided on a career direction yet and feel torn between more than one option that could result in your dream job, you may feel more confused when confronted with career decisions. Take time to get clear on what really matters to you. The more in touch you are with what brings you joy, the easier the Tummy Test will be.
Mark Strong is a Life Coach, Career Coach, and Executive Coach based in NYC. You can find more information at www.markstrongcoaching.com.